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Us 14, America 8, California 7, Jerry Brown 6, Washington 6, Iowa 5, Florida 5, Sarah Palin 4, Obama 4, United States 4, Moines 4, U.s. 4, Janet Napolitano 4, Meg Whitman 4, Savannah 4, Bunning 3, France 3, Virginia 3, Europe 3, Britain 3,
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  MSNBC    The Daily Rundown    News/Business. The day's  
   top political stories. New.  

    September 29, 2010
    9:00 - 10:00am EDT  

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32,000 people at the game last night. >> you aren't buying it, are you, mike? >> they're never going to the games the last couple of years. >> willie geist on that happy night if it's way too early, what time is it? >> it's "morning joe." now time for "the daily rundown with chuck and savannah. i automatic i don't know about you, but i'm fired up. >> the president gets them fired up, but can he get them to the polls. the latest nbc news/"wall street journal" poll offers a sliver of hope for democrats. terror threat. europe on alert after authorities uncover a plot to kill tourists at multiple landmarks. and possibly the u.s. homeland security secretary janet napolitano joins us live. and get set to get soaked. florida braces for to rential rains and this storm is moving straight up the east coast. good morning. it's wednesday, september 29th, 2010. i'm savannah guthrie. >> is it really only wednesday? is it really finally hump day?
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i'm chuck todd. and later, the academy award-winning filmmaker debe hyped at kwn inconvenient truth" and now "waiting for superman" will also be on the show. let's get to the rundown. we'll start with those new poll numbers. five weeks from election day. our new nbc news/"wall street journal" poll shows a little bit of a silver lining for democrats. when asked who they independent power come january, republicans still come out on top but their lead has shrunk to nine points. was 49/40 in august and now just three points, 46/43. still a lot to be concerned about here for anyone currently in office. mark murray is nbc's deputy political director. the big picture, the overall landscape hasn't changed. let's start with the first number. why is the republican lead now only three when it was nine a month ago? >> well, chuck, the biggest change has to do with the fact that african-americans and latinos are more enthusiastic about voting in the midterms, which has bumped up the
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democratic numbers ever so slightly. however, president obama -- the numbers among younger voters still are -- those people are still on the sidelines. but that is the biggest explanation for the incremental change. but the biggest story is, and speaking of change, that's what voters still want with more than almost 6 in 10 americans saying the country is on the wrong track. some of the biggest things they want differently, less of an influence among special interests. they also want more political outsiders. they want the tea party to bring fiscal conservatism and they want to repeal health care reform. >> mark, one of the things that jumped out at, i think, both you and i in this poll and some other folks was how a majorities were okay with either the republicans in charge if that's what happens or the democrats in charge. republicans a little bit better. but not overwhelming. it seemed these other issues truly sort of shaking up washington matter more than the color of the jersey.
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>> exactly, chuck. and that, the numbers are a little bit contradictory on what people actually want. we get kind of a good gauge on the things they find incredibly acceptable and not -- and not so acceptable and the things that rank down at the bottom, sarah palin being the spokesperson for the republican party and nancy pelosi staying as speaker of the house. >> and quickly, mark, tell us about who the most popular politician is right now in american politics? it's not barack obama. it's not sarah palin. it's not nancy pelosi or john boehner. >> it's bill clinton. he certainly has had a nice media run as of late in his favorable rating in our poll. 55% give him a positive score. 23% an unfavorable score. president obama is at 47/41. and then the people at the bottom of the list, sarah palin and nancy pelosi. >> i guess, mark, this just proves absence makes the heart
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grow fonder. the further away you are from office, people start liking you again. >> one other quick thing is that republicans who despised bill clinton during the 1990s, that rage, he's no longer a republican target anymore. and that explains a lot of it. >> well, they have a new target. mark, thanks a lot. the president is on the road again today in iowa and virginia. last night in wisconsin, he proved he can still get tens of thousands of young people to show up at a rally. but can he get them to vote? >> the biggest mistake we could make right now is to let disappointment or frustration lead to apathy and indifference. we are bringing about change, and progress is going to come. but you've got to stick with me. you can't lose heart. >> mike viqueira is travel with the president. he's in des moines, iowa, this morning. so mike seems like he really packed in a crowd last night. what was the message? >> well, after the scolding came the pleading you guys.
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the day after he told them to buck up and that they had to get to the polls to vote in november, he really was a full-throated plea from the president to his base which include many of the college students and the youth mark was just talking about that are disaffected, that are apathetic that the president was speaking to last night. was a full-on campaign-stril production. they had cranes, jib cameras going up and down. they said there were 200 watch parties on the internet at college campuses and other locations across the country. 26,000 people. the number was somewhat in dispute but that came from the campus police. and they were cheering on the president as he spoke, even comparing the struggle for change that he is engaged in, dress addressing the disappointment, comparing it to the struggle to abolish slavery or get people the vote nearly the 20th century. we are in this bucolic setting in a backyard in des moines, iowa. he continues on with his tour of backyard discussions. yesterday it was albuquerque. using these occasions to talk about the economy, talk about
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everything his administration has done to right the economic ship. at the same time bashing republicans. they did a lot of that last night. taking pieces of that pledge to america, talking about the budget cuts that would ensue. after des moines, he's back on the plane. goes to richmond, virginia, for another backyard discussion before he returns to washington tonight. >> mike viqueira in a backyard in des moines, iowa. is there any better place to be in the fall? beautiful place to be. >> it's a delight. >> thanks very much. in the house, republicans are accusing democrats of dragging their feet on ethics trials for maxine waters and charlie rangel, trying to delay them until after the midterms. kelly o'donnell is nbc's capitol hill correspondent. kelly, what's going on here? this was supposes to be the trial time, was it not? >> well, it's not quite the bucolic setting here that mike was talking about with the president. this is good old-fashioned partisan fighting. and what makes it unusual is that the house ethics committee
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is supposed to be above all of that. it's the only committee that's evenly split between parties. here's what was supposed to have happened. schedule public trials for charles rangel and maxine waters. both have had some violations of ethics rules put against them. and what's happened here, well, republicans think this should have taken place prior to the november election. both rangel and waters are not considered to be in trouble in their districts. but this could be very politically embarrassing for democrats and for congress as a whole. so the real stunner came when republican members of this committee on their own issued this statement accusing the chairwoman zoe loftgren of california of stalling. her aides were very upset. they said they were blindsided, caught off guard. and they accuse republicans of holding on to this statement until they knew congresswoman laftgren was in the air taking a flight to california. it's a real arm twisting between the two sides. there's frustration, finger-pointing and we don't
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know when these two trials will be set. both waters and rangel say they want it to happen quickly. republicans agreeing with that. but we don't have a time set and this is certainly not eased the negotiations between republicans and democrats. chuck? >> all right, kelly o'donnell, following these trials that we're still wondering when they're going to happen anyway. thanks very much. one other interesting news on capitol hill is jim demint's announcement this week that he will not allow any unanimous consent for anything happening on the senate floor until he gets to review the bills. >> this is the republican senator from south carolina who is certainly become a conservative star. you thought you saw gridlock before. >> who runs the senate? harry reid? mitch mcconnell or jim demint. it's an interesting question. >> so much of the actual business of the senate gets done this way, unanimous consent. so this is potentially a key development. let's move overseas. high anxiety in britain and france over a newly discovered terror plot.
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nbc's jenny wovell is live in britain with the latest. what can you tell us? >> i can tell you that the current threat of a terror attack in london is considered to be severe. that means the threats of terrorist activity is highly likely. we're not quite at the top level yet, which would be critical. and that would mean a terror threat would be imminent. so in terms of the way people in the uk are reacting, not much has changed in terms of there's no more visible policing. and that's perhaps because we've been in this height end state of alert since january. however if you move across to the continents and compare us to paris, then it's a different story because late last night, the eiffel tower, of course, had its second security alert. it had to be evacuated for the second time in two weeks. that was after a bomb threat which was later considered to be unfounded. that was cleared. that has since been cleared. but in terms of terror threats across europe, well, it's not just england. it's not just france.
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germany as well is considered to be a target. and if we look at the type of terrorist activity that the intelligence services envisioned, it's moved away from the traditional suicide bomber that we've come to expect from terrorists like the al qaeda and the taliban. and now that perhaps they are moving towards something that's more akin to the combat-style attacks like we saw in india in mumbai when 174 people were killed when they moved in to a hotel there. >> all right. jenny wivell for us in london. thanks very much. clearly a test of the global intelligence sharing and the global intelligence community. we'll get the latest on any potential threat to the united states when homeland security secretary janet napolitano joins us live in a few minutes. nine months after the christmas day attack -- nine years after 9/11, are we really just talking about aviation security as a global problem? we'll ask the secretary of homeland security about that. plus, the inconvenient truth
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about education in this country. >> there's a complete and utter lack of accountability for the job that we're supposed to be doing, which is producing results for kids. >> the new ground-breaking documentary "waiting for superman." academy award-winning director davis guggenheim joins us. first, a look ahead at the president's schedule. as you saurk it's a couple of backyards. he's the backyard again at this point. the president. going to be in des moines doing an intimate affair. yesterday, a little fascinating discussion about christianity in the president's personal beliefs there. thanks to a question from somebody in a backyard in new mexico. we'll be right back.
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the united states has reportedly stepped up on the border in pakistan. janet napolitano joins us from montreal, canada, where she's attending a u.n. meeting on aviation security. we'll get to that issue in a minute. first virks to ask you, a little news of the day. what can you tell us about these threats overseas in particular, any threats to the u.s. homeland, recognizing you are a little limited in what you can tell us. should people be fearful this morning? >> you know, i can't comment to specific threats. but what i can say is that we're constantly working both at the homeland but with our allies
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abroad to make sure that the terrorists are not successful in carrying out any of their threats. >> has there been an increase -- >> it's an ongoing effort. >> of course. has there been increased reporting? obviously, we're seeing that in europe. they're on high alert there. is there any companion threat here? >> i prefer not to comment. we're taking and always take every measure that we can conceive tof protect the american people. >> so the increased chatter that french intelligence sources are basing some of their reasoning for raising their threat level there. we're not hearing the same thing or none of that is something we should worry about or -- at all? >> well, i think -- let me echo the words of our dni director clapper last evening when he said, look. we don't comment on specific threats one way or the other.
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but we are always constantly working on our own security, as well as the security of our allies. we know al qaeda, its affiliates and terrorists are constantly thinking about ways to attack the west. >> in testimony a couple of weeks ago, you had said that you are fearful of an increase in home grown terrorists in the united states. specifically, is this a concern about folks like an american citizen who -- like the gentleman that ended up moving over to yemen, or is this about truly home-grown terrorists that maybe have no connection to islamic extremism? >> well, it's both, but i think that testimony was really referring to those who have become radicalized to the point of violence. and violence in the name of islam. and so we have some who have
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gone to places like yemen. we have some u.s. persons who have gone and trained in the fatah and now have returned to the united states. and this is something that we have seen increase, really, over the past 20 months. and something that our department is working on along with the fbi and the national counterterrorism center. >> madam secretary, let's move to the issue of global aviation security. it's the reason you are at this united nations conference in montreal today. i know you are trying to get global consensus about improvements to aviation security. i got to ask you. how is it that nine years after 9/11 we're still just talking about this? this is not one of those threats that came out of nowhere. why has it taken so long to have it taken seriously, to try to get some of that coordination? >> well, let me break your question into two parts. first, there have been a number
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of territories in the wake of 9/11. obviously, just look at what has happened domestically. hardened cockpit doors, federal air marshals on plains, explosive trace detection machines in airports, k-9 teams in airports. what this meeting is about is an historic meeting of 190 nations of the world, all over the world, saying the global aviation system is truly global in nature. we want to make sure that we have security standards that all countries are striving to meet and that we have a program laid out for the next 18 to 24 months that's really very nuts and boelts on security to prevent another al qaeda-type attack, to prevent another abdulmutallab from geltting on an airplane an make sure the nations of the world are working collectively on something we all have a stake in. >> have we stopped -- have we said to a country in the last six months or to a year, you
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know, we're going to stop travel. we're going to prevent any airlines from coming directly from your country to the united states, passenger airlines because you -- your airports do not meet our standards of security. have we cut off a country or are we just simpling threatening countries of cutting off access like that? >> well, we always have the option. the -- to cut off a country from having a last point of departure. and we have not actually cut off a country in the last 20 months. but we have declined to allow u.s. flag carriers to depart from some countries. and so that's something that we're constantly evaluating. the threats change. they evolve. we cannot be static. we have to be very proactive in this area. but our goal, obviously, is to keep global aviation and
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international travel safe for americans and for people of other nations as well. there's a lot of trade that happens in this respect. cargo passengers, tourism, families who are located different places around the world. in the post world war ii era, global aviation is a key part of our system, of our global system. it needs to remain safe. >> all right. u.s. homeland security secretary janet napolitano from montreal this morning. thank you for your time. we really appreciate it. >> thank you. all right. still ahead, trouble from the tropics. that massive storm on track to bring rain, and probably some misery, to the entire eastern seaboard. >> and in today's decision 2010, meg whitman and jerry brown face off for the very first time in a debate in california. but first, our washington speak today. gang of eight. now who doesn't love a congressional gang? the gang of eight is made up of the eight members of congress who must be informed by the white house and cia about any
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covert intelligence orders signed by the president. >> if you were paying attention yesterday, you know those orders are called presidential findings. and, of course, there seems to be always sort of a miscommunication there because there are some at the white house who would argue for the very, very, very last minute of informing some of these guys because they think some of these guys are on speed dial with various reporters. >> they think eight is enough in other words. >> that's cute. if you have some washington speak you'd like us to clarify, send us an e-mail. dailyrundown@msnbc.com. >> or any information on the van pattons. time for the "your business" entrepreneur of the week. brian kerth of portland, oregon is the founder of vocation vacations. he pairs people up with owners of businesses giving them an opportunity to test drive a different career.
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we know voters are not very happy with government. in california, that's an understatement according to a poll out this week. 82% of votes are think the state is headed in the wrong direction. 82%. and you thought -- people thought the rest of the country was in deep trouble. state attorney general jerry brown and former ebay ceo meg
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whitman are running for the unvu unenviable spot of trying to turn that state around. for meg whitman it was a big debut. >> she has the values that if you just give it to wall street and business and follow the george bush playbook, things will be well. but we've seen the results of that. and they're not very pretty. >> putting jerry brown in charge of negotiating with the labor unions around pensions, around how many people we have in the state government is like putting count dracula in charge of the blood bank. >> if you elect me governor, i won't collect till i'm 76. and if i get a second term it will be 80. so i'm the best -- i'm the best pension buy california has ever seen. okay? >> jerry brown was also asked how voters can trust he won't try to launch a presidential run from the governor's office. he did it twice during his two terms as governor in '76 and '80. we didn't even mention the '92
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run. >> i was younger, you know i'd be running again. but i'd say at 74, whatever it's going to be in a couple of years, i'm ready. one more thing. i now have a wife. and i come home at night. i don't try to close down the bars of sacramento like i used to do when i was governor of california. >> well, there you saw jerry brown being, well, jerry brown. not mincing any words saying if he were younger, he'd run again and if he were single, apparently he'd be drinking again. brown n wittman meet in their next debate on saturday in fresno. both candidates have hit this ceiling on their support. somewhere in the mid-40s. clearly these debates might have more of an impact than they usually do in a big race like this. >> moving on to the battle for the senate. we have to look at the crazy alaska race. the democrat who some think have a shot thanks to the lisa murkowski write-in bid. scott mcadams is hoping that he
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has a shot because of that interparty fight between murkowski and joe miller to see if he can pick up enough votes to win. he's out with his first general election ad shot on a fishing boat. >> this is a long way from d.c. i'm scott mcadams. and i'm not your usual senate candidate. here's the difference between me, joe and lisa. they think this campaign is all about them. i think it's about alaska and getting our fair share. i approve this message because after being cursed at in norwegian, you can take on anyone. >> i do believe, savannah, that is the first time we've had anybody speaking norwegian in a tv ad in 2010. so we're all about the firsts here. there you go. >> you speak norwegian? >> apparently it was curse words in norwegian. which is nice. >> we didn't have to bleep it, then, because no one knew until you told us. americans living in sin. why experts say it's all because of the recession. plus, storm threat for the
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entire east coast as a tropical depression gets ready to bear down on florida. and just a movie or a movement? the new documentary on education getting not just critical reviews but now political endorsements. i'm meg whitman and i don't normally recommend movies but every parent of a school-aged child in california should see "waiting for superman." >> all right. that may be a first. coming up, the director of "waiting for superman," davis guggenheim, joins us live. first today's trivia question from the almanac of american politics. retiring senator jim bunning was the only pitcher in major league baseball history to strike out what hitting legend three times in one game? the answer and more ahead on "the rundown." my nasal allergies are ruining our camping trip. i know who works differently than many other allergy medications. hoo? omnaris. [ men ] omnaris -- to the nose! [ man ] did you know nasal symptoms like congestion can be caused by allergic inflammation?
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bottom of the hour. let's look at what's driving -- apparently it's still only wednesday. >> unfortunately. president obama saun the road today. he'll hold two separate discussions on the economy in iowa and virginia, wrapping up his three-day trip. european intelligence officials are investigating a credible terror plot against britain and france. the eiffel tower was briefly evacuated tuesday night following a bomb threat. we're keeping a close eye on tropical depression that's bearing down on florida. it could become tropical storm nicole as it moves up the eastern seaboard this week. we'll have a live report on the rains in florida coming up. other headlines making our news this morning. former president jimmy carter expected to be released from a cleveland area hospital to resume his book tour today. he was rushed to the emergency room tuesday with an upset stomach. and new census data shows young people taking a turn away from the altar for the first time in over 100 years. the number of young adults not married is greater than those who are carried. sociologists say the struggle to
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find work is to blame for that. and more people are living together. well, heavy weather is starting to move forward the east coast. tropical depression is gaining strength and the concern over flooding in florida is growing by the hour. >> the weather channel's jim cantore is in ft. lauderdale this morning. give us a quick update. well, first of all, we can barely see you. clearly it's raining. but how serious is this depression and is it going to, at all, have any chance of growing into something stronger? >> i was just listening to bill reed talking to our friend at the weather channel saying the hurricane hunters are now being able to fly in this because we think it's some north of cuban air space. and they are having a tough time finding the center. but when you look at the satellite picture here, this thing is so huge, you wonder if the senate centeris trying to reform somewhere, down, say, west of jamaica or into the central caribbean. either way it means unsettled weather for south florida today and eventually up through the mid-atlantic, which is exactly where they had the deluge the
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other day with a frontal system. so there's certainly plenty of concerns. let me show you pictures. last night the rain moved through. ponding on the roads and whatnot. heavy rain up north. 6 to 9 inches up toward cocoa beach and brevard county. 95 in both directions at mile marker 181. those are the things we are worried about in miami-dade and broward counties. they lowered the canals, which is where all the water drains into. so if we get a heavy dump of rain that water will be able to flow freely in there. the radar certainly shows us we have much more to come before all is said and done. by this time tomorrow, we should be back in the sunshine, which is what folks here in the sunshine state are used to. >> yeah, but sending it up to us. jim cantore from the weather channel. thanks. just over a month until election day. and our new nbc news/"wall street journal" poll is shedding light on what voters really want from washington. >> it's an age-old question. >> they don't want washington. >> what do voters want?
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let's get to the results. fred yang is democratic pollster with ger hart yang research. both firms co-conduct this poll. i want to start with tax cuts. we are trying to get at this debate. it was the big debate over the last three weeks. should the tax cuts for the wealthy expire and we asked it two different ways. should they expire for folks over $250,000? just a flat question. let them expire, 49%. extend them, 45%. then we asked them and made the arguments both sides are making and the results were essentially the same. 47% to 47%. but inside the numbers, lots of things change. so, fred, i guess what i ask you, is this a winning argument for democrats at this point considering everything is so divide on this issue? >> i think it is a winning argument. i think in the next five weeks, we want to energize our base. we want to energize democrats to vote. we want to persuade independents
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to come to our column. the one thing we did not do in the nbc poll, which is totally fair is in polling i've done and i'm sure gene has seen for political candidates. when we use the name george w. bush and say it was the bush tax cuts, that makes the results stronger for the democrats. >> we call them tax cuts. but if you let them expire, it will feel like a tax hike. isn't the wording really important here? >> wording does make a huge difference because essentially zee very stable ends and fred is 100% correct on that. trying to galvanize that base. when you look at democrats going into the elections and compare the numbers, that is really what their problem is facing right now. >> let's go to the tea party movement. one of the things we ask, has the tea party movement been a good thing for the american political system? 42% said a good thing. only 18% said it's been a bad thing. and, obviously, the tea party, particularly one thing we notice is that they've been associated with fiscal conservativism.
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that's been -- fred, would you say that for the republican party, the tea party has served as a way to decouple itself from the bush brand? you just brought up the bush tax cut. but now we don't say the bush name. we talk about the tea party. >> i think this is a complicated question. i think the -- i don't know yet. we don't know yet. i think that and some of these republican primaries where the tea party candidates defeated the establishment republican candidates you, can argue that they are hurting republicans more. i think that question, chuck, and sa van agood thing/bad thing. i think they are three democrats who think it's a good thing. harry reid, jack conway and chris kunz. and it is arguable ultimately how much this movement, which mostly republican voters in general anyway, can make the broader electorate forget about the president. >> speaking of president bush who seems to hang over everything in this poll. a final result. president obama and the economic
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situation. people say, 56% say he inherited it. 32% say his policiy ies are to blame. still a strong number for the white house but the trend is downward. more people blaming president obama as opposed to president bush. >> this will all be connected to the president's approval rating. this is the dominant feature of the architecture of american politics right now. the president is captured by that. the record shows and history shows that any time a president is below 50% in job approval, that the opposing party picks up huge number of seats. >> very quickly, gene. if you were to look at this poll and tell your republican clients, what would you say one warning sign they should take away? >> one warning sign is no one voted on anything. that you oar the huge numbers, the huge republican advantages to be sure are that we are seeing certainly over the summer have tempered as core democrats have sort of checked in. you look at the latino voters
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and african-american voters in this survey. we'll not so those gains but the architecture of the race has not changed. >> all right. fred yang and gene ulm, our pollsters. thanks very coming in. appreciate it. time for the trivia. it's another kentucky centric trivia question. retiring senator jim bunning was the only pitcher in major league baseball history to strike out what hitting legend three times in one game? bet you some of you guessed hank aaron or willie mays. the answer is ted williams. may 16th, 1957. bunning struck out williams in the first, fourth and sixth innings. take that, ted. his biography, williams said he was so mad after the game he ripped off his uniform and vowed i'll get you bunning. he did in their next meeting in the next week. williams hit two solo home runs off bunning. so there. >> now you are all chock full of trivia. he's the man behind "waiting for superman." >> up next we'll talk to the film's director davis guggenheim.
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why he says driving his children to school inspired him to start the conversation about america's broken education system. but first, the white house is soup of the day. chef's cooked up some mushroom florentine at the white house mess today. >> can we add a little feta? >> when i see the florentine and the spinach, i automatically want a little feta. ♪ [ male announcer ] you're at the age where you don't get thrown by curve balls. ♪ this is the age of knowing how to get things done. ♪ so why would you let something like erectile dysfunction get in your way? isn't it time you talked to your doctor about viagra? 20 million men already have. ♪ with every age comes responsibility. ask your doctor if your heart is healthy enough for sex. do not take viagra if you take nitrates for chest pain,
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six people died in chicago after ingesting cyanide-laced tylenol back in 1982. the incident led to reforms and packaging of over-the-counter substances and became a landmark. >> to this day still can't poke the hole in the foil in half of these bottles.
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>> at least you -- >> but you know what? i'll take that. the nfrks nbc are shining a light on the urgent issue of america's failing schools. it's one thing to talk about this issue and another thing to take it to heart the new documentary "waiting for superman" does just that. >> one of the saddest days of my life was when my mother told me superman does not exist. even in the depths of the ghetto you just thought, he's coming. i just don't know when because he always shows up and he saves all the good people. she thought i was crying because it's like santa claus is not real. i was crying because it was no one coming with enough power to save us. >> the film "waiting for superman" follows five schoolchildren whose futures rest on the roll of the dice. a lottery to get them out of failing inner city schools and into a decent education. >> joining us now, the director of this ground-breaking film, davis guggenheim. he also directed "an inconvenient truth." he joins us now from
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minneapolis. so, davis, i want to start with something that, you know, we've had a big conversation this week about the issues with teachers. and the big conversation of the issue with administrators. a big kfrgss with the issues with lawmakers in this. clearly you came at this as a parent. but are we still sort of in the same -- we have the same issue with education that we knew 30 years ago which was if you came from a good socio economic background, you are going to get a good education. and if you are growing up in a bad socioeconomic background, you'll get a bad education? >> well, when i grew up, my dad always said the great thing about america is that everyone has a chance if you work hard and go to school. you get a chance at the american dream. and that america was different that way. and what i find are parents all across the country that want the same thing, you know, we want for our kids. but the schools aren't doing their party. we've become too americans where you either get a great education or you don't. >> you know, i know that you have told others this was not a
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documentary you were really itching to do. you had to be convinced somewhat. now people have said you really started a conversation with this film. in your mind, having done all the research and walked around the public education system in this country, what was the most shocking thing you came across? >> well, the interesting thing is that i'm in minneapolis today. and, you know, out -- way outside the beltway. the shocking thing, actually, is that people want to get involved. this isn't just sort of one of these documentaries that's like eat your spinach. i was at the mall of america last night and the demand was so great they had to open a second theater. two theaters sold out. i'm really amazed at the willingness and openness that people have to this movie. they are seeing it as a call to action. they are seeing it affects them and they are seeing that having seen the film, you can actually get involved. and we can actually fix this. so that every kid in america gets a grit education. >> davis, what is working?
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in the education? what did you find that is working. >> well in every school, no matter how the school is, there are great teachers slugging it out every day and really reaching kids. the system is really not working. it's sort of built, as michelle says, for the harmony amongst adults. there are high-performing charters. there are many charters not doing well but there are high-performing charters that are proving that you can go into these tough neighborhoods and they can send 90% of their kids to college. and they are -- this is the reason why people are seeing the movie. it's -- people are so hopeful is that they have cracked the code. you can reach even the toughest kids where parents are burdened and they are proving it's possible. that's why there's such enthusiasm around the movie right now. >> you don't pull any punches in this movie. it's pretty tough on the system in general but in particular the teachers united nations. i want to read a response from the american federation of teachers which was featured in the film. it says the film relies on a few
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highly sensing aal and isolated examples in an attempt to paint all public school teachers as bad. had the filmmaker visit someday good public schools he would have found that no good teacher supports tolerating bad teachers who are failing in the classroom. did you set out to make the teachers union the villain? >> not at all. i'm a democrat. i believe in unions. i am a member of a great union. i decided that we're not going to fix our schools unless we face some really uncomfortable truths. i made the movie "inconvenient truth." but if we don't see all the uncomfortable truth, start with myself. i send my kids to private school. i pull my kids out of the system. i'm part of the problem. i think for a large part, the democratic party hasn't done what it should do in terms of fighting for the little guy. and i think it's pretty universally understood among principals and superintendents that the unions really have to change. we're not going to be able to fix our schools without a lot more flexibility in these union
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contracts. that really restrict reform. >> and before we let you go you certainly mentioned "an inconvenient truth." really bro by that film. now, this film is doing the same for education. but do you worry at all that this has just become the fashionable issue. people see the movie and feel like that's what passes for action? >> well, i think that, you know, you have to understand what a movie can and cannot do. a movie cannot educate a kid and cannot write policy. see school board members and teachers and this is a way of coming together and be part of the conversation. randy winegarden and coming around in the movie and d.c., the secretary of education and congressmen coming around the movie to start the discussion and start making change. if you go to our website, you can click action.superman.com
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and click involved to make real change and that's what's different than just a movie. >> david googen him in minneapol minneapolis. congratulations on the success of this film and let's hope it does do what it has done this week, which is fwhaut just start a conversation, but have that conversation lead to something else. anyway, thanks so much. >> thanks, chuck. thanks, savannah. coming up, levi johnston, really, gets the last word. >> did he, though? i don't know. follow us any time on twitter@chucktodd,@savann twitter@chucktodd,@savannah guthrie. replant a forest? maybe you want to rebuild homes for those in need?
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or, maybe you want to help improve our schools? whatever you want to do, members project from american express can help you take the first step. vote, volunteer or donate for the causes you believe in at membersproject.com. take charge of making a difference. will save us. [ crunch ] look! [ helicopter noise ] [ grunting ] [ male announcer ] introducing new wheat thins crunch stix. words alone aren't enough. our job is to listen and find ways to help workers who lost their jobs to the spill. i'm iris cross.
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lt all right. before we go, wasilla may oral candidate levi johnston got himself a grilling last night. our own lawrence o'donnell peppered johnston with some of the very same questions that seem to stop sarah palin in her interview with katie couric back in 2008. >> what newspapers and magazines do you read regularly? >> i read "frontiersman" every once in a while. >> do you believe evolution should be taught as scientific principle or one of several theories? >> you're getting over my head here on some of these things. i don't know how to answer that one. >> i like an honest politician who is willing to say i don't know when he doesn't know. do you believe pakistan is --
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"frontiersman" doesn't have much to say about that, right? >> oh, lawrence, what a meanie. at least he didn't pretend to know. >> that's true. whatever. i don't know y think levi still accomplished what he wanted to accomplish. he got on tv. in other news, he's not tuning in to watch his former love on "dancing with the stars." that's okay, because aappareppa everyone else is. coming up next, chris jansing. >> at 1:00, andrea mitchell reports. tim caine and joe klein. e. i'd like to get your advice on hedging - risk... exposure. what makes us different? for 300 years we've chosen to focus on our clients.
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>> we are bringing about change and progress is going to come, but you've got to stick with me, you can't lose heart! president obama on the campaign trail and he's trying to reclaim his mojo. i'll talk with doug wilder and pat buchanan about how voters